Australia minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, is visiting India and Sri Lanka to enhance cooperation on border management activities and promote recent changes to Australia’s skilled migration programme.
‘I look forward to deepening Australia’s relationship with both India and Sri Lanka through beneficial discussions on a range of issues of importance to our countries,’ Bowen said.
He will visit New Delhi from 30 April to 02 May, where he will discuss migration arrangements and reaffirm the importance Australia places on its long standing bilateral relationship with India.
‘India is now one of Australia’s largest and growing sources of general skilled migrants and students. This visit is particularly timely, given the implementation of the Knight Review of student visas and India’s place as the second largest source of international students in Australia,’ explained Bowen.
The minister will then visit Sri Lanka from 02 May to 04 May in order to conduct talks on irregular migration and migration reforms.
‘Australia will continue working closely with Sri Lanka on issues relating to people smuggling, including preventing and disrupting people smuggling ventures by air and sea,’ Bowen said.
‘We appreciate Sri Lanka’s ongoing cooperation in the area of people smuggling, in particular its new people smuggling legislation which will work to promote regular migration avenues for Sri Lankan nationals,’ he added.
The visit will also provide an opportunity for the minister to outline changes to the general skilled migration programme and the completion of the Knight Review with his Indian and Sri Lankan counterparts.
After a decline, Australia is once again registering a rise in the number of Indian students applying for admissions to its universities. In higher education, the Indian market posted strong growth, albeit from a low base.
New student starts from India were up 27.3% to 2,682 in the year to March 2012. But overall higher education commencements fell 6% to 52,101, according to Australian Education International.